Where can you find the Queen and her corgis, pork pie made by the Queen’s baker and the Tardis, all in the one place?
In the foothills of Mt Tamborine, just a 20-minute drive from the Gold Coast and 45 minutes from Brisbane, lies a piece of Mother England, Australia’s only authentic English pub, the Fox and Hounds Country Inn. It’s a haven of all things British.
The old Sussex Arms in Tunbridge Wells, which dated from the 18th century, was dismantled, shipped over from England and its interior reconstructed in Wongawallan, opening as the Fox & Hounds in 2007.
The Fox and Hounds is a must for royalty lovers, football fans and Dr Who followers. From the red telephone box and London bus parked outside to an interior filled with an eclectic (and some would say bizarre) mix of antiques and paraphernalia, there’s something to catch the eye at every turn.
Dr Who hasn’t arrived yet, although the Tardis has plonked itself down near the front door. Still, there is plenty of evidence that we’re on a Dr Who set, including an Ood who watches over the bar. ‘Curiouser and curiouser!’
The pub has four themed rooms: British and Irish (with its own resident leprechaun) on either side of the front door, as well as Tudor and Scottish. Three of the rooms have their own bars, making group bookings easy. We are there for lunch, however we note that the pub often hosts special events such as Murder Mystery dinners, dancing, and special British celebrations on other occasions.
We dine in the British room, seated under the watchful eye of Queen Victoria, who gazes imperiously around the room. There is a stuffed stoat on the fireplace mantelpiece, palace guards making sure our behaviour is civil, and football scarves hanging from the ceiling, most of which have been donated to the pub, we are told.
It’s quite an extensive menu of British favourites, including cold standbys such as a Ploughman’s Platter for two, and a Pork Pie served cold with accompaniments of cheese, English mustard, pickled onions, gherkins and piccalilli. The pork pies are the real thing, made by Tony Wensley, former Bakery Manager of one of the oldest and most prestigious bakeries in Melton Mowbray, England, the renowned ‘Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe’, which regularly serves royalty, including the Queen.
Other traditional fare on the menu includes Toad in the Hole, Pig in a Blanket, Bangers and Mash, Lamb’s Fry, weekend roasts and Giant Yorkshire Pudding on Sunday afternoons.
Choosing safe, we order two ‘crowd favourite’ dishes from the menu: Beef and Guinness Pie and Pork Ribs with chips.
The home-cooked food more than meets our expectations. The hugely generous Beef and Guinness Pie is served in a charming ‘Simple Simon’ pie dish, the crestfallen face of the child visible in the crockery dish.
“Oh no, she stole my hat,” you can imagine him saying.
Of course, I did! I whip the pastry off, as crispy as it is, taking only a bite because the pie filling is steaming and scrumptious, made rich by the Guinness, the slow-cooked cubes of beef tender and juicy with a tasty sauce that I mop up with forkfuls of mash.
Likewise, the ribs are smothered in sauce and packed with flavour. They fall off the bone at the touch of the fork. It’s a hearty meal, the rack of ribs accompanied by excellent beer-battered chips and coleslaw.
Any doubt about British food is long gone. This is ‘fine fayre’ indeed!
No room left for the Sticky Date Pudding, though. That will have to wait for a return visit.
With an extensive range of British and Irish beers and ciders available on tap or by the bottle, The Fox and Hounds brings us bucketloads of nostalgia, all only a short drive away from home. Pop in for a Greene King IPA, an Old Speckled Hen or a London Pride at the British bar, a Kilkenny or Guinness from the Irish bar. This cosy pub will soon become your British home away from home.
As the sign on the front door says,
“May your troubles be less, your blessings be more,
and nothing but happiness come through your door.”
It certainly feels this way at the Fox and Hounds, part of the Gold Coast, Australia’s Favourite Playground.
Fox & Hounds, 7 Elevation Dr, Wongawallan Ph: 07 5665 7582
Kitchen open Mon-Thurs: 11am – 3pm; 5pm – 9pm, Fri-Sun: 11am – 9pm
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Destination Gold Coast.